9-14 Aug 2017
For most of us in the team, this missions trip to Philippines was our first missions trip. As such, the team was really excited yet, nervous, as to what this trip held in store for us. We set forth with expectant and open hearts to what God could do through this trip. Moreover, we also partnered with another team from Emmanuel Assembly of God (EAOG) for the entire duration of the trip which was indeed a blessing.
The first place we visited was the women’s prison. Most of us held a preconceived idea that a prison will be a rather cold, unfriendly and dark place. However, the place was drastically different from what we imagined. The women were able to freely move around within the compound, and in actuality, these women were so full of joy that it did not dawn on us that they were in a prison. Our team prepared a special song item, titled “Good Good Father”, for the women. After the song was sung, Pastor Kathy said that she felt the presence of an angel singing alongside our team member who presented the song. This greatly encouraged us and set the tone for the rest of the session. A representative from each team took turns to give a message; amazingly, both teams have prepared a message from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. The message touched the hearts of the women and that they were thoroughly engaged, some were even shedding tears during the message itself. Indeed, the presence of God was evidently felt during the session.
Boys’ Home, Girls’ Home and Orphanage
The following places we went to were the boys’ home, girls’ homes, and the orphanage. Initially, we were a bit hesitant to take the initiative to approach the children. However, we soon felt at ease with them and we just realized that happiness can be so simple; just taking a photo with them, playing simple games, or even carrying them on our backs could plaster such huge smiles on their faces. It was then that Matthew 25:40 resonated so strongly in me. Whatever we are doing for these children, who were supposedly cast aside by society – a hug or just loving them – we were doing it unto our Lord Himself. Also, many of us told the children that they were beautiful, which reminded me of Psalms 139:14, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, each of them precious in God’s sight.
Our theme for the children’s ministry was dreams – how God has destined for them to dream big dreams that will glorify Him. Coincidentally, the team from EAOG was doing their ministry revolving around the theme of “Restoration”. When we pieced together our individual themes, we slowly began to see God’s overarching plan of how He wants to restore the children and then, dream big dreams for Him. We saw many children being touched by the Father’s heart and had an avenue to share the dreams that God has birthed in them.
Old Folks’ Home
The last place we visited was the old folks’ home. It was a place that really left a huge impact in our hearts. Hundreds of elderly were housed within a small compound and some of the living conditions left a few of us in tears as we just felt so much empathy from within. However, during the later part of our session where we interacted with the elderly, we could feel that our companionship and conversations made them so joyful; that was enough to bring immense warmth to our hearts.
On our last day of the mission trip, our team went to Cornerstone Community Church, Marikina. We first attended the main service with Ps Kathy preaching. When we reached the venue, instantaneously, it felt like our own service back at home! After a short lunch, we sat in for the Generations (youth) service. The atmosphere was lively after a series of games and forfeits. One of our team members shared regarding the season of rain to encourage the youths to press on for their school outreaches. Because of the typhoon that happened recently, some Geners went back to school for make-up lessons. However, thank God that many of the outreach leaders were present. When our team prayed for the youths, we were greatly impacted and felt that their hearts were so hungry and on fire for God.
Though we started the trip with another team from EAOG, we ended as one huge team – a body of Christ. It was so fascinating to see how our messages and activities were in sync. Even though we may be teams from different churches, we still serve the one and only true God. As what Ps Yang said, it takes a citywide church to bring in a citywide revival. We had the absolute privilege to see a glimpse of that in our time in Marikina. Overall, I can proudly say that it has been an extremely blessed mission trip.